Employees and passengers of New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority have recently been given a significant reason for concern, as news broke that the agency’s managers have known of the risks of asbestos exposure in their facilities for years, but have chosen to ignore it. According to a report issued by the agency’s inspector general, the safety issues have been noted at both train and bus facilities throughout the city. The inspector general has alleged that the failure to address the problem constitutes widespread negligence.
The asbestos exposure comes from a variety of sources, with most identified in boiler rooms at six different depots. The equipment and infrastructure have apparently been allowed to deteriorate to the point of exposing friable asbestos within crumbling exteriors. Other concerns cited in the IG report included mold, exposed electrical wires and vermin.
Asbestos Exposure Problems Not Addressed According to Inspector General
The scathing report issued by the inspector general was included with a letter sent to NYC Transit President Andy Byford, and it included specific mention of the concerns about asbestos exposure. “These concerns were known to some in management — and have been known for some time — but the problems were not being addressed. How these facilities fell into such disrepair, who failed to take appropriate action and what needs to happen is the subject of [the IG’s] continuing audit.”
The most notable case of asbestos exposure was identified earlier and documented in a report published in the New York Daily News, which cited issues at Brooklyn’s East New York bus depot. At that location, the friable asbestos was identified in the building’s ventilation system, which circulates the air breathed in by workers and passengers. That report indicated that other asbestos had already been identified at that location two years ago.